Living / Surviving

Earlier this month, I lost my job.

I’m not going to go into what happened, but it’s been a very eye-opening experience. I’ve normally left companies entirely of my own volition before, and that wasn’t the case this time.

But I’m not really here to talk about that, I want to explore some of my thoughts around the idea of living and surviving, and the conflicts those two can have. This post is going to be a bit disjointed, as I’m currently sorting my own thinking around that.

To clarify, when I say surviving, I mean doing what you need to continue to exist in this world. Food, shelter, clothing. Money. Perhaps it can even encompass luxuries; there’s certainly an argument as to what “you” means in the context of existing, though I’m not going to discuss existentialism and class issues today.

When I say living, I mean purpose. Meaning. Finding something that makes you, if not happy or content, wanting to move forward. To wake up every day and continue your life.

I’m sure most folks would think of faith here, but this could also include ideology, community, family, ambition, etcetera.

Now, it’s not typically that simple a divide. I myself battle with depression constantly, so many days there’s not a reason for waking up except momentum. And for some, the two are the same thing. To survive is to live, to meet the day. Perhaps they feel the need to move forward out of defiance, or to prove something.

What happens when what you need to do to survive comes into conflict with what you believe? How do you rectify that?

For context, the place I’m coming from is based in ideological differences with capitalism despite having to survive under that system. I’ve also had a background in trying to live under a faith that I opposed.

How do you reconcile that? And what do you do?

My baseline is surviving. I realize that may not be everyone’s, but at the end of the day it’s important to ask: does the world need a martyr?

What then? It’s certainly easy to intellectually rectify the issue, but where do you take action? How do you change things, or at least try enough to satisfy your needs?

If you can’t change the world, what can you do to change your world?

I don’t know. But I’m trying to take this time to figure out.